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China’s 618 Shopping Festival Results And Trends, 2022

China’s major e-commerce platforms sold approximately RMB 695.9 billion (£84.7 billion) of goods during China’s annual 618 shopping festival (measured in gross merchandise volume from 31 May to 18 June) according to data monitoring firm Syntun. Tmall was the top-performing traditional e-commerce platform, but live streaming e-commerce platforms like Douyin and Kuaishou exhibited strong growth, generating a GMV of RMB 144.5 billion (£17.5 billion) up from RMB 64.5 billion in 2021.

Despite these huge numbers, sales only rose 10.3% compared to last year, a sharp decrease from the 2021 event’s 27.7% increase on 2020. As a result, some have suggested that consumers in China could be reining in their spending following strict Covid-19 lockdowns in cities like Shanghai. As Sixth Tone noted, the lockdowns muted sales in the period leading up to 618, hurting the platform rankings that get merchants onto consumers’ homepages on apps like Tmall and JD.

Platforms had recognised this potential turn down in spending prior to 618, and many shifted from a sales-driven to a service-driven strategy that aimed to retain customers through value-added services rather than capture new ones. For example, JD promoted the reliability of its in-house logistics solutions in response to supply chain disruption caused by lockdowns. It also launched a “green impact initiative” to label products that conform to a set of environmentally friendly standards, with the hope of appealing to shoppers put off by the rampant over-consumption associated with shopping festivals in China. This is a useful insight for brands looking for ways to stand out from the noise during shopping festivals.


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